May 9, 2009

State AAU Observations: Day 2

STOUGHTON, Wis.- Day 2 of the Wisconsin AAU District Championships held at the Impact Sports Academy in Stoughton, Wis., featured some of the top prep talent the state of Wisconsin had to offer in the junior, sophomore and freshmen classes.

The following is a ranking of the top performers after Saturday's games:

1.) Vander Blue (Madison Spartans, 17U ) - Once again, Blue was a man amongst boys on the hardwood Saturday. Although his Madison Spartans lost their first game of the morning to the Wisconsin Blaze, Blue simply amazed the crowd with a dazzling display of finishes at the rim. The Wisconsin commit scored from all over the court; hitting 3's, mid-range jumpers along with points in paint. All eyes seem to drift to Blue when his team takes the court.

2.) JP Tokoto (Playground Warriors, 15U) - Tokoto is the real deal. After receiving a verbal scholarship offer from Bo Ryan just weeks ago, Tokoto showed everyone in attendance why he's considered the top in-state prospect in the class of 2012. Although he struggles with his shot at times, there is no doubt Tokoto will be one of the best prospects in the Midwest when it's all said and done. The athletic ability of this freshman guard is simply off the charts. North Carolina, Duke, USC and UCLA have shown interest as of late, according to the talk from those close to his situation Saturday.

3.) Paul Jesperson (Wisconsin Playmakers, 16U) - A long, lanky guard prospect, Jesperson showed a complete skill-set on offense. The Merrill product was one of the smoothest players to take the court. With deceptive quickness and an outstanding shot, expect Jesperson's recruitment to heat up this summer. He has visited Madison last year and currently has offers from UW-Green Bay and South Dakota State.

4.) Kyle Kelm (Wisconsin Swing-Selk, 17U) - Kelm is one of the top remaining uncommitted prospects in the 2010 class. The 6-foot-10 forward showed great touch around the basket and was creative off the dribble. Although he seems to drift to the perimeter from time to time, Kelm makes up for that with his range and athleticism.

5.) Chip Rank (Wisconsin Swing-Selk, 17U) - Rank, who already has a handful of mid-major offers, showed outstanding range on his jump shot. Although listed as a forward, Rank had probably the sweetest outside shot of anyone participating in the tournament. He lacks some lateral movement on the block but is as tough as they come. All-in-all, he's going to make one college coach extremely happy. Also being recruited as a quarterback in football.

6.) Nimrod Hilliard (Madison Spartans, 16U) - It's doesn't take long to notice Hilliard. Whether it's his big goggles or long rattail, he continues to impress every chance he gets. The 6-foot guard can get to lane with ease and has proven to be the go-to guy on the Spartans 16U team. Hilliard's jump shot isn't any thing to admire, but he still finds a way to put the ball in the basket. The Madison East star is easily a fan favorite.

7.) Marquis Mason (Wisconsin Swing-Selk, 17U) - The Wisconsin football commit did his dirty work in the paint as usual. Playing on a loaded Wisconsin Swing team, Mason seems to be the guy who makes everything work. He lacks a jump shot, but makes up for that with elite athleticism.

8.) Jamar Morris (Wisconsin Force, 15U) - The leading scorer as a freshman on Madison Memorials loaded JV team, Morris' game is eerily similar to that of Jeronne Maymon. Morris, who stands 6-foot-5, looks the part and relies on his power game in the paint. I'd expect this explosive lefty to contribute in a big way as Memorial looks to defend their 2009 Division I state championship.

9.) Brett Meinecke (Wisconsin Swing-Selk (17U) - Meinecke averaged 15.4 points per game at Sussex Hamilton as a junior. A bigger guard with great handles, Meinecke showed great court vision and a willingness to create for his teammates.

10.) Trevor Jorgenson (Playground Warriors, 16U) - A big body, Jorgenson is tough and rugged on the block. Although he lacks some quickness, the La Crosse Logan product showed great touch around the rim.

Who did not participate?

- Junior Lomomba was in attendance for most of the day, but did not participate with his Wisconsin Force teammates.
- Josh Gasser of Wisconsin Swing 17U was not in attendance due to prom.
- Quevyn Winters of the Playground Warriors 16U did not play Saturday.

Play of the Day:

After a missed lay-up in traffic by one of his Playground Warriors teammates, Tokoto took off from the right block and with two hands, stuffed it over two Fox Valley Fire players.

Favorites heading into Day 3:

15U - It would be shocking if the Playground Warriors, lead by Tokoto, didn't win this tournament with ease. This team is stacked and could compete with a majority of the 16U teams.

16U - Again, I'd be surprised if the Playground Warriors didn't run way with the 16U title as well. Lead by Jorgenson, this team has a huge size advantage over every other squad in their division.

17U - The loaded Wisconsin Swing-Selk team should have no problem winning the 17U bracket Sunday. With players such as Kelm, Mason, Rank and possibly Gasser, the Swing should put on a good show during Championship Sunday.

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